AHA Proposes 12 Deficit Reduction Strategies in Lieu of Medicare Cuts

The American Hospital Association has distributed a list of alternative strategies to reduce the federal deficit — policies "that don't simply cut Medicare and Medicaid payments," according to a Kaiser Health News report.  

The AHA is promoting the strategies as lawmakers and President Barack Obama consider reforming entitlement programs to avoid the fiscal cliff.

The AHA said 12 specific alternative strategies should be discussed in any debate for the deficit reduction. Those include modernizing cost sharing for Medicare and Medicaid, increasing the age of eligibility for Medicare to 67, adjusting programs to improve end-of-life care, taxing junk food and reforming medical liability.

These provisions are already included in various deficit-reduction plans, including President Obama's and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's separate budget proposals, the Simpson-Bowles plan and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's list of spending reductions, among other initiatives.  

"Providers already face billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts," the AHA statement reads. "True entitlement reform and approaches to change the healthcare delivery system are needed — not provider cuts."

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